The Harry Potter discrepancies - Post 4: Book 7

The Harry Potter discrepancies series continues. After reviewing the discrepancies in -
It is time to to move on to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (a.k.a HP7):

But first, let us get it off our chest:
HP7 was a disappointment at the first read, it remained such in repeats over the years, and the feeling only got stronger this time around. It is sad, because once you start the series, you want to go the distance. But the joy of the first books is slowly replaced by the tension of wanting to ride it till the end, and the discrepancies are not the only problem. HP7 is a seriously flawed book. Just compare the dramatic density of HP6 with HP7 !
If only Rowling had let the cave-horcrux be destroyed at book 6, it would have made HP7 so much better (not perfect, as there are still some serious discrepancies left to handle... but better).

Why did Rowling kept the horcrux for book 7 ? because it would have made the shrill nakedness of the HP7 plot too blatant. It is an incomplete-book in comparison with its ripe and mature brethren.
A work in progress.
In my mind, HP7 was the first of J.K's crimes against her own creation.
And the real shame ? j.k didn't need to write more.... All that was required to make a very good book 7 was to take the current material and edit it to the length of HP2....
(although a different handle of teenage Harry and the hunt for horcruxes would be much better in my mind and a lot more consistent with what we've learned to expect, considering the direction and decisions made by Rowling in the previous books).

HP7 mostly relies on the huge momentum that the previous books of the series created. Sadly, it brings with it discrepancies aplenty. HP7 is indeed to king of the HP series, in that shameful aspect (page numbers refer to the  Scholastic USA 2007 First Edition):
  1. p.46: It turns out that Pius Thicknesse made it an offense to connect the Dursley's house to the floo network, to place a portkey there, or to apparate in or out, and Moody sums that it was "Absolutely pointless, seeing as your mother's charm does that already"... assuming the charm does not send people to Azkaban, then we can understand this statement to mean that the charm prevents these activities, which kind of makes sense as minimal protections for Harry's safety (minimal, because we assumed the charm did much more to prevent death eaters from that minimal action of reaching the neighbourhood, walking to the house, knocking at the door and then doing their lord's wishes upon the Dursleys and little Harry ). But if the charm does prevent such activities, how did it come to be that the Dursley's house was connected to the floo network repeatedly, from HP3 and on ? (remember that time when the Weaslys got trapped in the fireplace?)
  2. p. 52:  Ron Weasly, seeing 6 Harry Potters changing clothes, states "I knew Ginny was lying about that tattoo"... come on! Ron was in the same dormitory with Harry for 6 years now. He had seen him changing clothes all the time. There is no possibility that Harry would have a tattoo prior to the summer vacation after year 6 and Ron would not know about it.
    (if you assume that Ginny had told Ron that Harry got one thru the summer, then -
    1) considering the strict security harry enforced on himself that summer, there was no chance he had gone and got himself a tattoo and Ron should have known it
    2) Harry and Ginny are no longer bf/gf, remember? so why would she tell Ron about an intimate detail harry shared with her recently ) - btw, this is not only a discrepancy, but a crime : repeating a joke that was already used in HP6? come on !
  3. p. 55: "see you all in about an hour in the Burrow" says Moody before they lift off.... He says it outside.... Where neighbors and stalking death eaters can hear him. And he shouts it - so that his voice can be heard above the noise of the flying motorbike engine.... So much for security, eh Moody ? (I mean, whoever hears it, has no need to track them, but go straight to the burrow and attack the house)
  4. p. 55: When the motorcycle turns upside down harry losses his broomstick as he aims to save his racksack and Hedwig's cage. One would have thought there would be better ways to salvage a falling broomstick, considering all of the Accio broomstick we've seen in HP4 and HP6...
  5. p. 61: Harry's wand "acted of its own accord"... a spurt of golden fire... the explanation is provided in p. 711 at the "kings cross" chapter but Dumbledore's explanation, that the wand gained some of Voldemort's powers in the HP4 tackle, was ridiculous. The explanation is certainly one of the peaks of HP7's foolish moments. She could have made it a last protective enchantment Dumbldedore has set . She could even toy with the idea that Dumbeldore has given his life for harry and now harry enjoys another layer of protection (although that could have complicated things further, because if so, why didn't Sirius's death do the same? His father's death? etc) . Either way: She should have been methodical.
    The important points about this blunder are :
    1) priori incantatem was a known phenomenon to experts.
    2) but the theory Dumbdlore suggests is unknown to anyone. if it had to do with meeting brother-wands, than there should have been an explanation regarding the question which wand won ?! (and we know that the meeting at HP4 ended with harry's victory in the meeting of wands)

    The idea that the wand, taking a part of Voldemort's abilities will work against him, is quite bizzarre, to say the least. It would have been wiser to say that the wand, beating its brethern, had become a super-wand. But then it broke because of a charm cast by Hermione? So Rowling tries to explain it is powerful only against Voldemort... and it gets really embarrassing. A wand that has Harry's courage and Voldemort's skill should be a super-wand. The new "elder wand" perhaps. Not something so bizzare. This entire adventure at wand lore by j.k is mainly embarrassing.

    We are left with a phenomenon that is unexplained by the internal, consistent logic of the framework Rowling has set up. she created a problem for a reason. in this case - to send Voldemort after the elder wand. But just like the worse fantasy writers - she makes up new laws  just to reach a solution, and those new laws that are inconsistent with everything we have known till now.
    and that is Horrible.
  6. Waiting for harry to reach 17 so that he can do magic is the excuse for waiting at the burrow (other than Bill and Fleur's wedding). But it isn't because harry can't do magic. It is because of the trace that is lifted when harry is 17. Why should a Voldemort controlled ministry lift the trace from Harry at all? ever ?
    Coming to think of it, how can it be that the ministry has such magic and Voldemort cannot do an identical thing to locate harry ? (and it does not really matter if the trace is person-specific or age-specific. either way, it can enable locating harry)
    There is a partial discussion of this in ps. 168 , p. 205 (Lupin states with certainty that it is impossible to still have the trace on harry))

    Talking of traces: hp7 does not deal with the fact that harry does illegal apparitions. doesn't the ministry monitor such actions ?
  7. Harry's coming of age (p.113) stresses Rowling's horrible omission of any reference to the fact that both Ron and Hermione came of age. These are not meaningless events, considering the fact that everyone in the wizarding world know about the affiliation between the boy who lived and those two. Why? 
  8. p. 112 Harry asks Ron about Hhermione: "how she expects me to stop seeing stuff in my sleep..." , following his dream-vision about Voldemort seeking Grogorovitch. It seems that Harry has completely forgotten about what he was trained to do during most of the HP5 year, when he was required to learn Occlumency, and practice it every night before going to sleep.... 
  9. The impact of polyjiuce potion lasts an hour. That we learned in HP2. This lesson was reiterated in HP4, as fake-moody (B. Crouch jr.) had to keep drinking it to keep his disguise. And yet, at Bill &Fleur's wedding, Harry drank one drink of the polyjuice potion before the wedding, and despite the long hours of the celebration, he didn't take another sip... and yet he did not come back to his original form.... How can that be?
  10. If Regulus black emptied the basin in the cave from the dreadful potion, how was it refilled again for Dumbeldore and Harry ? (And no, it does not refill automatically by magic. Voldemort had to refill it when he went there with Kreacher... HP7, p. 194)
  11. in p. 195 it is stated clearly that house elfs can apparate and disaparate disregarding all wizarding anti-measures. Examples: Kreacher in the cave by the sea; House elves in Hogwarts. If that is the case, why didn't Harry send one of the pair Dobby/Kreacher into Bellatrix Lestrange's safe to get the cup/horcrux ? Why arent' house elves used for burglaries? the potential of this miscalculated thinking on J.K.R's behalf regarding House Elves and Apparition is endless.

    Furthermore, having a house elf with you solves a lot of transport problems. As well as other issues of protection (remember the end of HP2 and how Dobby handled Lucius Malfoy with ease? )
    So, another question arises - Why couldn't Harry order Kreacher to protect them? Why couldn't Harry ask for Dobby's help? (a theoretical answer to that would be Harry's habit of self-reliance, but considering the odds he faces in HP7, it seems more foolish than ever.... unless, naturally, you weigh the dramatic advantages of the breaking into the vault in Rowling's chosen manner....

    And just to make sure this nail went all the way thru: surely, if Kreacher could bring Mundungus to Grimuald place, he could also bring Umbridge along.... or even better, just go to her residence, take the locket, and disappear. Elf-magic, no? (always a literary problem when you introduce super-powers.... the equation can never be balanced afterwards).
  12. Harry giving Kreacher the locket Regulus had left in the basin was a charming gesture, which evidently touched Kreacher's heart. But isn't a locket a kind of an item to wear? Assuming it is - why doesn't it set Kreacher free ?
  13. Why search for the locket in Umbridge's office and not in her home? I understand that Rowling had a desperate desire to show us the racial pure-blood regime as it is seen through the lens of the muggle-registration-board sessions, but it was a rather illogical excuse. Would have been much more impressive to tell this through a rescue mission to save a friend in need or someone essential for the quest. But it wasn't logic that guided J.K in her design of HP7. 
  14.  do you recall that HP6 introduced non-verbal spells? Harry got some hold of this technique. And yet, in HP7, he is unable to do a non-verbal Muffliato during the session of the registration board session? (p. 260)
  15. While running away from the ministry, Yaxley was accidentally brought into the secret of the Grimuald location. So the 3 friends apparate to the Forrest. But no one thinks that Kreacher should be alerted? called? Why should he be left to the mercy of the death eaters? (the excuse, in p. 278, is the fear that someone would come along. And yet, considering what we know about elfish apparations, we can assume that summoning Kreacher could be done in a time or a manner that would reduce the chance. More importantly: since when does Harry Potter abandon someone in distress? Elf-discrimination!)
  16. While in the woods, why can't they ask Dobby to get them food?
  17. The Taboo spell (p. 389-390), that trace-spell that locates anyone saying "Voldemort" is a cute idea that backfires, being illogicality exemplified. All one needs to do is set a "taboo"-like spell over the mentioning of the names "Harry", "Hermione" and "Ron", in a tight enough time unit (let's say 15 minutes) and sooner or later, you will get to the right people, won't you?
  18. At gringots, Harry casts the Imperius curse for the very first time in his life on two persons (an old goblin and Travers, the death eater). Harry was never able to cast a Cruciatus curse. Bellatrix once told him he had to really mean it when he failed casting it at her (HP5, during the Atrium duel). So we can assume for J.K's sake that Harry really means to control those two. But how does he do it? We are not told if he has to control every aspect of their behavior or merely guide them in his thoughts. We are not told of the intricacies of the situation. And more importantly - how can it be that neither objects? And even a greater doubt rises - how can it be that a magical bank doesn't have any safety measure against such a predicatable mean to steal people's money?
  19. At the lake (after escaping Gringotts), after the vision of Voldemort discovering that Harry has stolen the cup, Harry should not be wet (p. 552). The three exchanged to dry and warm robes a few pages ago (p. 547). 

It is a pleasure to say that there were about a 100 pages of freedom of discrepancy. I don't think it is an accident, as these were the ones that mark the point where HP7 finally soars to the heights that his brethren had marked. How sad that it is such an inconsistent book. 

Let's celebrate this aspect with the Movie's Trailer -

Take a breather, and continue our journey throughout the long list of HP7 discrepancies:
  1. Voldemort's assumption (p. 654, during his conversation with Snape at the shrieking shack) that Harry is safe, is completely illogical. His army includes giants and giant spiders and his death eaters are using powerful enchantments shot from afar (of the kind that killed Fred Weasely). Nothing guarantees Harry from these. Nothing. 
  2. Worse, it isn't clear why Voldemort lets others do his fighting when he knows his Horcrux is in danger (and might be one of the others). How come he isn't trying to save the diadem? Why was he in such a hurry to get to Hogwarts in the first place? 
  3. Voldemort should not let Nagini kill Snape. It makes no sense! He should have killed him with his own wand. After all, by his own logic, that was the only way so that he would become the true owner of the elder wand.
    There is no other logic if you believe that killing the previous owner grants control of the death stick.
    And yet Voldemort avoids that. It might have some sense had Voldemort displayed some form of emotion - but in p. 656 it is stated that Harry sensed no sadness and no remorse after the death of Snape.
  4. Is it logical to assume that Snape would have cooperated with Dumbledore not knowing whether Harry will live?
    I think not. Dramatic considerations made Rowling hide that detail hidden from the readers. But logic demands a much more stubborn snape. After all, his love for Lilly has made Harry's life a holy grail for Snape. It is not something he may give up just like that. He should have demanded more. And it could be expected that Harry would see in his memories some reference to that...
  5. When Dumbledore guided Snape about the time when Voldemort shall guard his snake, and explained the message harry needed to receivem, how exactly did Dumbledore expect Snape to locate Harry and communicate with him?
    How did Snape expect to get such an opportunity while being in Voldemort's company?
    What would have happend if Harry had been lucky in Godric's hollow and was able to kill Nagini then? He would have never known that he is a living horcrux, and Voldemort would come back again ... and again... and again....
  6. Harry's choice of no goodbyes (p. 693, ) is illogical. Dramatically convenient but unacceptable plot-wise He had to brief Ron and Hermione; To explain why; To plan ahead; So that they would be ready to launch the final assualt on horcrux-less Voldemort.
    Otherwise, his sacrifice is for nothing. What happenes in p. 695-696 (making Neville a secret keeper regarding the importance of Nagini's death, but not about this exposing Voldemoret vulnerable) is only slightly logical - because it had to be a premeditated action and not accidental as J.K chose, and it had to be a full disclosure of at list two facts by Harry: when I'm not around 1) kill Nagini. 2) With Nagini and myself dead, know that Voldemort is killable now.
    The real problem behind this discrepancy is simple: now that there are only two Horcruxes left - the snake and Harry, and Voldermort knows that his secret is revealed, there is no logic at all in keeping the secrecy. It only protects Voldemort instead of exposing Harry to danger.
  7. Why does the eldar wand agree to kill Harry at the first of the two confrontations with Voldemort ?!?
    Does the wand know about Horcruxes?
    or does it understand that Harry is ready to die and therefore it cooperates with Voldemort's curse despite Harry being his own owner?
  8. Why didn't Harry die? Rowling suggests a self-contradicting explanation.
    At the meeting in king's cross, as Harry states that he should have died, as he did not defend himself, because he meant to let Voldemort kill him, Dumbledore answers:
    "and that, will, I think, have made all the difference"
    How? In what way?
    This can only have meaning in a hallows-context. Harry wouldn't have reached King's Cross if he hadn't meant to die.
    But then, ps. 708-709, the explanation goes to the taking of blood at the end of HP4...and creates the greatest weakness of book 7: the musue of the hallows. The namesake of the book (for God's sake!) are not used by the author (=by Dumbledore) to save Harry's life.
    Why not?
    probably because Rowling realized at a stage that was too late, that if Harry couldn't die, then he couldn't die!
    Meaning: if the Deathly Hallows gave Harry true control over death, then Voldemort could have performed all the Avada Kedavra's in the world and Harry would still be alive, right?(worse, Harry could ignore the warning in Biddle the Bard's "the tale of the three brothers" and bring everyone he wanted back from the dead, attempting to undo all of Voldermort's evils.... )
    but that was not the ending J.K had in mind!
    So she had to backtrack some of the way, and the outcome is the greatest discrepancy of the series .... a legendary set of magical tools that Dumbledore goes out of his way to acquire and pass to Harry's ownership... And it does not deliver ... It had to be a late decision by J.K, otherwise there was no way the hallows would be so centric, and receive such a serious treatment thru the book (ending is particularly puzzling with H.P telling Dumbledore what he did with the resurrection stone and the wand).
    I, for one, think it was a horrible decision by J.K. because dominion over death does mean you are unaffected by the curses. It just means that you get to choose. On the other hand, the mean that she has chosen to explain harry's immortality - Voldemort taking his blood and thus tying Harry's life to his own - has two major weaknesses:
    1) if Harry cannot die, he cannot die.... so how come he gets to King's Cross despite the protection of the blood-charm?
    2) If Harry is still alive, and Voldemort has Harry's blood in his veins, how come Voldemort can die, despite the protection of the blood?

    And thus we reach the sad conclusion that while Rowling thought she had climbed out of the pit, she was actually caught in the snare... what a pity. Hallows vs Horcruxes would have been a much better book than the hunt for Horcruxes.

    (And if you are still not convinced that the book was originally about Hallows, in the deep meaning of saviours of the show, then please explain Dumbledore telling Harry "you are the worthy possessor of the Hallows" and why he explains that it had to be difficult to attain the hallows lest he captures the hallows at the wrong time for the wrong reasons... can the sentence "you are the true master of death, because the true master does not seek to run away from Death. " (p. 720)) be anything but a clear demonstration of J.K's inability to decide what the hallows actually mean?

    And last hallows related issue: why did Dumbledore wish that Hermione would know about the deathly hallows? If they have no other meaning other than to let Harry see his already dead beloved ones, surely there was a less problematic manner to inform him of that potential. The hallows information might have turned the trio away from the Horcrux destruction course!
  9. What reason did Dumbledore have for not informing Harry when it mattered about his guess regarding Harry's tethering to life? What is so problematic about Harry knowing that he is not going to die? Why the cruelty?
    (Especially, as is stated in p. 713, Dumbledore has known, for some time now, that Harry was the better man among them two...)
  10. On the one hand, Dumbledore was sure that Voldermort would try to get the Elder wand. On the other, he intended that Severus Snape would end with the Elder wand. But didn't he know that Voldemort would kill for that wand? (did he plan that Severus would give the wand to Harry?)
    Seriously, how could Dumbeldore plan that Malfoy would disarm him and take possession of the elder wand only to be disarmed by Harry much later? This doesn't make sense at all. 
  11. Why did Voldemort collapse after hitting Harry with the Avada Kedavra in the forest? After all, no destruction of one of his other horcruxes had impacted him in this manner. 
  12. Many noticed that Bellatrix Lestrange spoke to Voldemort as a lover (p. 724) when he collapsed after hitting Harry with a curse. But Voldemort, theoretically, has no place for love. Adoration, yes. Love? No. He can't stand the touch of the thing, or don't you remember HP1? 
  13. How could it be that Voldemort, the great Legilimens, failed to recognize that Narcissa Malfoy was hiding something? (that Harry was actually alive)
    Was she that good an occlumens? After all, Snape attributed Malfoy's control of this art to his teachings by Bellatrix, not by Narcissa.... and why didn't he send Bellatrix to perform this task ? why one of the Malfoys?
  14. After harry's returns to life he casts shield charms, first over Neville, then over others that Voldemort faces (p. 733-734). But Voldemort isn't one to use curses other than the Avada Kedavra - against which there is no protection ....
    Furthermore, Harry himself states later on (during the final duel with Voldemort, in the great hall) that his own sacrifice has given protection to all around, similar to the one his mother's sacrifice gave to him. If he knows it, why does he bother cast shield charms?
  15. (a) Why don't Hogwarts house-elves use magic when they fight ?
    (b) why do the house elves join the fight so lately? where were they in the previous hours? (while the late arrival of the relatives of the fighting pupils has some logic (but only some, as apparations are instant), the slow response of the house-elves, who are duty-bound to protect their masters, has no logic in it).
    The literary reason is clear: dramatic action. Alas, the internal consistency and logic are sacrificed completely on this altar, a weakness that marks hp7 and makes it the lesser of the 7 books, in my mind.
  16. How can it be that Voldemort intends to duel Harry, knowing that only a short while ago he failed to kill Harry even though he had used the elder wand? (p. 737-744). This is the final duel between Harry and Voldemort. Voldemort speaks of Harry's theoretical armament. But how can it be that he does not deal with what should have been the real and bothering question for him: how can it be that Harry is STILL alive after a second Aveda Kedavra? Voldemort is not that stupid. He must surely understand at this stage that something went horribly wrong in his calculations. Instead of running away and planning again, he confronts Harry once more?
  17. Worse, at this stage, Voldemort must know that all his Horcruxes have been destroyed.
    Rowling tried to hide the lack of response of Voldemort to Nagini's death with the appearance of fresh forces on the Hogwarts battlefield. But Voldemort, who was so angry and scared as he slowly discovered the destruction of Horcrux after Horcrux is surprisingly indifferent to Nagini's death, the only thing in the entire series to which he displayed affection ! (only a few pages ago in the book.... and let's remember, this isn't just a beloved pet. It was his last Horcrux!)
    This behavior might be attributed to shock, but Voldemort has displayed such a careful and cowardly behaviour in the past (consider his conduct in HP5 & HP6, sending others to do his dirty work and running away in the end of HP5), so how come all of a sudden he stands and fights a battle that appears to be a losing one ?
  18. The final Voldemort-Harry duel is very dramatic but extremely illogical. Neither character has the tendency for such a conversation before fighting. Voldemort is snake-like, not a chatty individual (consider his fight with Dumbledore in HP5, or the duel in the graveyard in HP4. Not the type to let another handle him with chitchat.
    And Harry? Why does Harry linger? (The reason is simple: Rowling has decided, illogically, that Harry is not going to kill Voldemort. That V is going to kill himself. Which makes Harry's role passive in the duel. When has Harry made that decision?
  19. p. 743-744: Why did Voldemort's curse rebound? What made it rebound? An Expeliarmus? It has never happened before. If you accept the wand-serves-it's-rightful-owner logic of J.K.R, then you expect the elder wand to turn in Voldemort's hands and shoot the killing curse at him. But the curse was flying towards Harry... and rebounded... It is totally inconsistent with any other duel that has ever taken place in the Harry-Potter-universe. This has got to make you sad.
  20. p. 748-749: Dumbeldore and Harry are both experienced Horcrux hunters. How can they assume that the resurrection stone (left in the forest where it fell) and the elder wand (to be returned to Dumbledore's tomb) shall be left at peace?
    The stone is magical and can, therefore, be traced by talented wizards (as D found the ring of Slytherin). Others can take a page from Voldemort and desecrate Dumbledore's grave. The decision to let things be forgotten be might be wise. But the protection on those powerful magical artifacts can only be described as foolishly irresponsible.
  21. In retrospect, there was no reason what so ever for Dumbledore not to tell Harry how to destroy Horcruxes. it just doesn't make sense.
  22. And another thought, arising from Dumbledore's picture. Don't you think Dumbeldore's picture is a little too wise for a picture? Almost like talking to the original, isn't it? Is it really typical for a picture to be able to guide a person the way it had guided Snape?
  23. Why doesn't Snape get his picture? And if he does, why doesn't Harry address it? Doesn't Snape deserve it? (or is Snape's picture less potent than Dumbeldore's picture?)
And there we have it. 42 Discrepancies in the final book of a great series. In my opinion, discrepancies 26, 27, 29, 35, 36,38 & 40  are serious flaws in the seventh book. Whenever I reach these or think about them I flinch for J.K.R. It is really unpleasant to mess up like that. And it makes  HP7 a lot harder to read, which is a shame, because the climax of a series should be at least as good as previous parts.

Still, we can understand that it is hard to maintain an extremely high level through such a long voyage, and the attention to the discrepancies is the outcome of the generally excellent level of J.K.R's writing. We wouldn't have noticed it, hadn't we expected more (: